11 Natural Tips for Increasing Libido in Men

Boost your sex drive, naturally!

Laura Tennant

Medically reviewed by

E. P. Diamandis, MD, Ph.D

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Highlights

  • Low sex drive is common and can affect anyone.
  • Foods, supplements and lifestyle changes can impact a man’s sex drive.
  • Check with your doctor to rule out an underlying health condition.

It’s normal for your sex drive to change over your lifetime, so if you’re worried about a sudden decrease in desire, know that low sex drive or low libido can happen to anyone and at any stage of life. 

If you are experiencing a low sex drive, there are supplements, foods and lifestyle changes that can contribute to a higher libido and increased sexual satisfaction.

What exactly is a sex drive, and what is normal?

The sex drive or libido describes how much a person desires sexual connection. Though there is no standardized medical definition of what counts as a high or low sex drive, someone with a high sex drive is likely to have a more frequent desire for sex and engage in sexual behavior more often. 

Conversely, someone with a low sex drive may not think about sex very often and is less likely to engage in sexual activity. 

What is considered a normal level of sexual interest varies for everyone. So evaluating if there’s a problem depends on what you consider normal for yourself and if your sexual function meets your expectations. 

It’s common for sexual interest to change over time, especially throughout a relationship. For example, the initial “honeymoon phase” often involves high levels of desire from both partners. But, during a long-term relationship, it’s common for each partner to experience periods of increased or reduced sex drive. 

Natural ways to increase your libido

There are several strategies that may improve low libido. However, lifestyle changes alone can make a big difference and should be considered first. 

Additional solutions, like food or supplements, lack concrete evidence of success — still, certain foods, like oysters, pistachios or chocolate, are low risk to try. If you do plan to take a herbal product or supplement, it is important to research the brand, establish a safe starting dose and ensure it won’t interfere with your medications or health conditions. 

‍1. Rule out a physical cause 

If you are experiencing a loss of sex drive or pain during sexual intercourse, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your sexual health, help determine if there’s an underlying physical issue and discuss treatment options. 

For men and people assigned male at birth, a loss of sex drive or erectile dysfunction may be linked to low testosterone.1(For women, it can be linked to shifts in hormone levels experienced during menopause or following the birth of a baby.2) Certain medical conditions and treatments, like antidepressants and heart disease medications, are also associated with low sex drive or sexual dysfunction.3,4

2. Decrease your stress levels

Stress can be an overwhelming distraction that decreases your energy level and makes it hard to enjoy sex.5 Among other health benefits, like lowering your blood pressure,6 reducing stress can help address a loss of libido.7,8,9 

Make lifestyle changes to reduce stress in your everyday life or try activities known to relieve stress like massages, regular exercise or breathing exercises.

3. Communicate with your partner(s)

Good communication is essential if you’re dealing with a low sex drive in your relationship.10 Sharing experiences and expressing empathy for your partner’s perspective can provide more insights into each other’s needs and help bridge the gap between mismatched sex drives. If you struggle to open up about your intimate relationship, consider couples therapy or sex therapy. Sex therapists can help individuals or couples work through sexual difficulties.11

4. Prioritize date night

If you notice a decrease in sex drive and are in a relationship, it may help to plan a date together. In long-term relationships, it’s easy to forget the importance of making time to keep the romance alive. But, spending quality time together on date nights can increase intimacy and help reignite your initial attraction.12,13,14

5. Limit alcohol and cannabis 

Some people like to have a glass of wine or use cannabis to relax before having sex, but it’s important to use substances in moderation. Too much alcohol or cannabis can negatively impact erectile function and make you too tired to engage in sexual activities.16,17

6. Try maca root supplements

Maca root is a plant native to Peru. It is related to ginseng and has long been believed to increase sexual desire. You can find maca root supplements in most health food stores. 

Though not enough to be definitive, some studies found that maca root positively impacted sexual desire in men independent of their testosterone levels.18,19  

7. Consider ginkgo biloba

A tree native to China, ginkgo biloba has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. Studies indicate that ginkgo biloba may increase sexual desire, particularly when sexual dysfunction is caused by antidepressants.20 This is thought to be due to ginkgo biloba’s influence on the body’s blood flow and smooth muscle tissue.21

8. Add fenugreek 

Fenugreek — a spice often used in South Asian recipes like curry — is rumored to help with sex drive. A randomized clinical trial in 2011 with healthy males aged 25 to 52 concluded that fenugreek might impact male libido and help maintain a normal testosterone level.22 Another 2016 study found that fenugreek seed extract helped improve sexual function in healthy middle-aged and older men.23

9. Try pistachios

One study found that eating 100g of pistachios each day for three weeks caused men to experience firmer erections and increased blood flow to the penis.24 While the study did not include a control group and requires further research, the results on sexual function are interesting.

10. Eat more chocolate

Chocolate has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, but is there any truth to the tales? A 2009 clinical study that tracked the stress hormone secreted by 30 people over a two-week period of consuming chocolate suggests that it may lower your anxiety and stress levels.25 So, while there’s no solid evidence of chocolate’s effects on one’s sex drive, it may help you feel happier and less stressed, which can contribute to more frequent and enjoyable sex. Plus, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are linked to other health benefits, so why not try it?26,27

11. Give oysters a chance 

A 2013 study from Malaysia found that consuming oysters increased sexual behavior in mice when compared to controls.28 The researchers proposed that the high levels of zinc in oysters could contribute to their potential sexual benefits. Zinc is an essential mineral required for sex hormones, like testosterone, to function properly.29,30 Like other foods, there’s no proven link to libido, but as long as you’re not on an oyster-restricted diet, it probably won’t hurt.  

Summary

Low sex drive is a common problem that affects people of all ages and genders, regardless of relationship status. It’s important to speak to a healthcare professional to rule out potential health problems before trying natural treatments. Lifestyle factors like reducing stress, limiting alcohol and cannabis and spending time with your partner may improve a low sex drive.

Updated on
June 13, 2022
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REFERENCES

1.  Maturitas. Testosterone and sexual function in men. Accessed April 28, 2022.

2.  Mayo Clinic. Low sex drive in women. Accessed April 28, 2022.

3.  Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety. Antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction: impact, effects, and treatment. Accessed May 26, 2022.

4.  Circulation. Sexual Health Concerns in Patients With Cardiovascular Disease. Accessed May 26, 2022.

5.  National Health Service. Loss of libido (reduced sex drive). Accessed April 28, 2022.

6.  WMJ: Official Publication of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin. Stress and hypertension. Accessed April 29, 2022.

7.  Mayo Clinic. Massage: get in touch with its many benefits. Accessed May 24, 2022.

8.  American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal. Stress Relief: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management. Accessed May 24, 2022.

9.  Better Health Channel. Breathing to reduce stress. Accessed May 24, 2022.

10.  Journal of Sex Research. Couples’ sexual communication and dimensions of sexual function: A meta-analysis. Accessed April 28, 2022. 

11.  International Society for Sexual Medicine. What happens during sex therapy? Accessed May 4, 2022.

12.  Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Planning date nights that promote closeness: The roles of relationship goals and self-expansion. Accessed May 31, 2022.

13.  Journal of the International Association for Relationship Research. “Date nights” take two: The maintenance function of shared relationship activities. Accessed May 31, 2022.

14.  Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. The associations of intimacy and sexuality in daily life. Accessed May 31, 2022. 

15.  The Journal of Sexual Medicine. How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women. Accessed April 28, 2022.

16.  Kinsey Institute. How do Alcohol and Marijuana Affect Sexual Performance? Accessed April 28, 2022.

17.  Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences. Stimulant and sedative effects of alcohol. Accessed May 25, 2022.

18.  Andrologia. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Accessed April 28, 2022.

19.  BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. Accessed April 28, 2022.

20.  Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. Accessed on April 28, 2022.

21.  Archives of sexual behavior. Short- and Long-term Effects of Ginkgo Biloba Extract on Sexual Dysfunction in Women. Accessed April 28, 2022.

22.  Phytotherapy Research. Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum Extract and Mineral Formulation. Accessed May 25, 2022.

23.  The Aging Male. Testofen, a specialised Trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract reduces age-related symptoms aof androgen decrease, increases testosterone levels and improves sexual function in healthy aging males in a double-blind randomised clinical study. Accessed May 25, 2022.

24.  International Journal of Impotence Research. Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction. Accessed April 28, 2022.

25.  Journal of Proteome. Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects. Accessed May 25, 2022.

26.  Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease. Accessed May 25, 2022.

27.  Journal of nutritional Science. Flavonoids: An Overview. Accessed May 25, 2022.

28.  World Applied Sciences Journal 26 (12). Screening for Aphrodisiac Property in Local Oyster of Crassostrea iredalei. Accessed April 28, 2022.

29.  Oregon State University. Micronutrient Information Center: Zinc. Accessed April 28, 2022.

30. Nutrition. Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Accessed April 28, 2022.

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